Taco Bout It:  Is It Worth It?
written by Taco Olmstead

photo of Taco and Elise with Nigel Hall at Camp Barefoot 2013, taken by Roger Gupta

It’s easy to get caught up in the negative, it’s even easier to lose our way because of it. I am often asked why it is that I do what I do? People who know me know that I am a humble person full of ambition and that my ambition has less to do with financial gain and more to do with experiential gain. If I was in this for financial gain I would never throw a festival.

We started our little music magazine three years ago with no real clue of how a magazine works. We didn’t know how to layout a magazine, how to publish a magazine or even how to make money with a magazine. There was one thing that we did know, we loved music, we loved art and we loved the communities that both inhabited. We knew that there were a lot of people who weren’t getting any attention from any media outlet, paper or web based, and we wanted to change that! So we started Appalachian Jamwich.
Three years later, here we are and from where I’m standing, this magazine of ours is looking pretty good! It’s not as glorious of a life as some folks might think, and it’s even better than what some might assume. For instance, a lot of people think we get into a lot of shows for free. Well, to be honest, that really isn’t the case. Most of the shows Elise and I attend, we pay for our tickets. We do this happily as we truly support live, local music. There isn’t much that irks me more than people who claim to support live, local music but never buy a ticket or support the small venues and festivals that actually support live, local music. If you can afford a seven dollar beer you can afford a fifteen dollar or less cover charge.
Do Elise and I get into some shows and festivals for free? We do, depending on your definition of free. For instance we operate and print a music and art magazine. This costs thousands of dollars a month. We put around 500-600 hours of our time into this magazine every month. We sell a lot of advertising to festivals and venues. We also review a lot of festivals and shows. This happens to allow us to enter these shows, venues and festivals for “free”. At the end of the day though, we spend thousands of dollars every month to earn that “free” entry.
Is it worth it? Well that’s the million dollar question isn’t it? Having an impact on a venues attendance, being the difference between a band being in the red or in the black, being the catalyst for going from hungry to fed, yes it is worth it! There is nothing more satisfying for me than having a hand in the success of a business, artist or musician, it is extremely gratifying being a part of that happiness.
The last two weekends we hosted the Appalachian Jamwich Birthday parties. One was April 3rd at the 8×10 in Baltimore and another April 10th at the Blue Fox in Winchester. At the 8×10 we hosted Jacobs Joseph and the Ten Plagues. This is a side project made up of Cris Jacobs, Jerry Joseph, Mookie Siegel and Steve Drizos and I gotta tell you, the music was pretty amazing. The highlight of that evening for me though was bringing the opening act, Jonathan Scales Fourchestra to Baltimore. They played in front of over a hundred live music fans and all of them were impressed by what they saw. That is why I do what I do.
The following week at The Blue Fox in Winchester we hosted Consider the Source, Threesound and Producer Lee Turley. Everyone there was familiar with Consider the Source and Threesound, but most had never heard of Lee Turley. Every person in attendance who had the pleasure of hearing him walked away impressed. Again, that is why I do what I do.
I do what I do because helping people, making people happy, bringing people together, giving people a new experience is what I love to do. It is easy to get caught up in the negativity that is out there. It’s easy to get lost in the numbers that are our profits and losses, but happiness is not a number. Happiness is giving recognition to those who deserve it, happiness is hearing new music and giving an artist a chance to paint, happiness is helping all of you smile. That’s why I do what I do…